OUTLINE OF CHAPTER 1
Verses 1-3 – Introduction
Verses 4-11 – Salutation & Occasion
Verses 12-18 – Vision of the Risen Christ
Verse 19 – Outline of the Book of Revelation
Verse 20 – Prep for Chapters 2 & 3
VERSES 1-3 – INTRODUCTION
MEANING OF “SHORTLY” AND “TIME IS NEAR”
Verse 1] “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass; and He sent and signified it by his angel unto His servant John”
The word Revelation = “Apocalypsis” and relates to the unveiling of something (18 times used in the NT). Jesus Christ is the key figure in this book as it is all about His second coming. It is no longer a sealed book (Rev 22:10) as it used to be in the time of Daniel (Dan 12:4) and needs be understood by all Christians.
The book of Daniel and the book of Revelation certainly both speak about the same end times period, and yet there is a difference in the commands given to the writer at the end of each book:
This is what Daniel was told at the end of his writing (Dan 12:4):
“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”
This is what John was told at the end of his writing (Rev 22:10):
“And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”
It says that these things must “shortly” come to pass and in verse 3 it also mentions that “time is near.” These verses were written over centuries ago, and these things have still not yet taken place. It’s only natural to wonder how words like “shortly” and “near” could allow for such a long span of time. Preterists argue that these words demand that the prophecies of Revelation must have been fulfilled a long time ago.
The word in verse 1 that is translated as “soon” or “shortly” is the Greek word “tachei” [Strong’s #5034]. Notice how this word is defined: Strong’s — quickness, speed; hastily, immediately.
It’s important to notice that the primary meaning of this word refers to the speed by which an event approaches rather than the duration of time before it arrives. In fact, this same word is generally translated in terms of speed elsewhere in the New Testament, as shown in the following examples:
Luke 8 — 8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them QUICKLY. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Acts 12 — 7 “And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up QUICKLY.” And his chains fell off his hands.”
Acts 22 — 18 “and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem QUICKLY, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.”
Therefore, verse 1 is saying only that God is causing the fulfillment of these prophecies to approach quickly. Regardless of how long it takes, we are not to construe the apparently long delay as idleness on God’s part.
The word in verse 3 that is translated as “time” is the Greek word “kairos” [Strong’s #2540]. Let’s see how this word is defined: Strong’s — fitting season, season, opportunity, occasion, time.
Notice that the primary notion of “time” conveyed by this word isn’t “elapsed time” (as in relation to a clock or calendar), but rather it is “appropriate time”. There are several examples of this word being used this way elsewhere in scripture (e.g. Matt 8:29; Matt 16:3; Matt 24:45; Mark 1:15; Acts 24:25; Rom 5:6; 1 Tim 6:15). So, where John’s says “for the time is near“, it means that it is now (or it is becoming) the appropriate time for these things to happen. This wording emphasizes the appropriateness of the time rather than the shortness of time. The time for these things to happen was appropriate when John wrote Revelation, and it is just as appropriate today.
The only thing that it could mean is that the fulfillment of these things is imminent. The admonition John is making in these verses is to be ready for these things, because they could come any time.
The key thing that makes an event imminent is that, as far as we know, it’s ready to happen but it’s timing is unknown. This agrees exactly with the way Jesus described His return in the end times:
Mark 13:32-37 “32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 33 Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. 34 It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35 Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”
Jesus tells us to be alert and watchful precisely because we don’t know when he will return. Specifically, verse 35 says his return could be “in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning”. This is clearly a figurative way to say that we must allow the widest possible range of time for His return to occur.
Any Christian, from the first century onward, should be ready for the possibility of Christ to return in their lifetime — and yet at the same time accept that He might not return until long after their lifetime is over.
There are some other passages that hint that our wait could seem to us like a long time:
2 Pet 3:3-4 “3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
Peter is telling us that in the last days, there will be scoffers who mock believers who still look forward to Christ’s return. Their mistake is to think that because the earth has been effectively ruled by man for such a long time (since creation as well as since Christ promised to come), it will continue that way, which rules out Christ returning to reign as king. Peter answers by saying:
“8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Since Peter mentions a thousand years here in the context of Christ’s return, we should at least accept that a time delay of that scale is possible.
In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus is teaching His followers to remain faithful until the (unknown) time of His return. As an analogy, he describes a master who goes away, leaving his household in the care of his servants, expecting that they will carry out their duties until he returns. In verses 48-49, he describes a servant who acts wickedly after reasoning that master is not returning for a long time. Again, Jesus is at least raising the idea that people will become dismissive of the possibility that He might return within their own lifetimes.
(Key Source: https://revelationlogic.com/articles/what-does-soon-mean/ )
MEANING OF “SIGNIFIED”
Verse 1] “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and SIGNIFIED it by his angel unto His servant John”
Revelation contains symbolism of reality and no prophecy is of private interpretation (2 Pet 1:20). Due to the use of the verb “signified” in Revelation 1:1, some indicate that the book of the Revelation is to be taken as a prophetic communication of symbolism, rather than literalism. But is this a valid understanding and restriction due to the use of the verb “signified”?
The verb “signify” in Revelation 1:1 is translated from the Greek verb “semaino.” This Greek verb is also employed five other times throughout the New Testament, and every one of those times it is translated with some form of the English verb “signify.” These five other times are as follows:
John 12:32-33 – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, SIGNIFYING what death he should die.”
John 18:31-32 – “Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, SIGNIFYING what death he should die.”
John 21:18-19 – “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, SIGNIFYING by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”
Acts 11:28 – “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and SIGNIFIED by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
Acts 25:27 – “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to SIGNIFY the crimes laid against him.”
Not in a single one of these five verses does the use of the Greek verb “semaino,” as translated by some form of the English verb “signify,” means “a communication of information through symbolism.” Rather, in every one of these five cases, the verb means “a communication of information through description.” Although it may include some symbolism, the meaning of the verb itself does not at all indicate a communication with a focus upon communicating through symbolism, but rather indicates a communication with a focus upon communication through description. Even so, although the prophetic utterances of the book of the Revelation may indeed include some symbolisms, the use of this verb in Revelation 1:1 would move us to expect, not a prophetic utterance that is primarily symbolic language, but a prophetic utterance that is PRIMARILY LITERAL description.
(Key Source: Pastor Scott Markle, Independent Fundamental Baptist)
Imagine how fearful these event would be if mainly literal. No wonder Jesus described this as a time “such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Unbelievable how Catholics, Preterists and Amillennials refuse to accept Revelation as a prophetic book about end time events, but consider it merely as a book on church history. I am still waiting on them to present any historical evidence that any of these events have taken place in the past.